Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The California Marriage Amendment Debate Is Far From Over

The California Supreme Court announced today that it has upheld the amendment to the state constitution, Proposition 8, that defines a marriage between a man and a woman. The 6-1 vote indicates that the issue being argued - whether the vote was improperly placed in the hands of the voters rather than going to the legislature - was not a close call. I believe that the court made the correct choice from the legal perspective. It is immoral for a panel of a few judges to overturn the votes of millions of citizens, unless there is a clear error in the administration of the amendment process. California's constitution allows for such changes to be made by the voice of the people rather than just the legislature. This is true democracy at work. The result accurately represents the voice of the people, not the agendas of politicians. Regardless of the outcome of the vote, whether we support the marriage amendment or not, it is refreshing to me to know that the judicial system did not usurp power from the people. I also agree with the court ruling that the existing gay marriages should stand. Not that I agree with gay marriage, but those marriages were performed at a time when the law allowed them. They should stand.

So what does this mean for Latter-Day Saints? It means that next year, another election year, the effort to overturn Proposition 8 will begin again. I believe this time it will be more heated. It could become more hostile toward the Church. Remember the protests at the Oakland and Los Angeles Temples? Many temple patrons were frightened, and some physically shaken, by the actions and attitudes of the protesters. What will those protests by like when the demonstrators are more aggressive? Will it actually become dangerous to attend the temple?

I have learned that we cannot convince others of our righteous motives, or of our Christlike love for them, through political debate. This is especially true when the issue is as heated as gay marriage rights. The most convincing argument will not be heard or respected if it is in opposition to an angry group who feels deprived of rights. We must prayerfully learn how the Savior would have us defend our position. One thing I am trying to do is look to the Church's media relations department for examples of press releases and other communications to the public regarding controversial issues. I may not convince anyone of my position, but I can be kind, empathetic and understanding in sharing it.

11 comments:

Kari said...

Aptly said.

Oz said...

"We must prayerfully learn how the Savior would have us defend our position."

You're assuming Jesus would care, and agree with your position. The Jesus in the Bible cared more about how we treat each other. People need to remember what Jesus was like, and stop putting words into his mouth.

Rick Carpenter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rick Carpenter said...

I am sure that Jesus does care about how we treat each other. And marriage, as we learn in the Bible, is blessed by God. Are you of the mind that God changes his moral standards under liberal peer pressure? If so, he's not much of a God. People often make the mistake of thinking that "caring more about how we treat each other" means that we must accept perversion. A clear understanding of Jesus and the Bible will quickly refute that myth. That is one of the dangers of liberal thinking... it is excuse-driven, always leaning toward rationalizing rather than holding to values that have been proven to work in society. This is yet another great example.

Oz said...

I believe the leaders of the church are of the mind that God changes his moral standards under liberal peer pressure.

Look at church history. The church opposed the black civil rights movement. Brigham Young said in the JoD that both the man and woman in interracial marriages with the seed of Cain should die! He said this would "always be so". It is no longer the position of the church, so if the church speaks for God on Earth, then yes, apparently God changes his position when the secular world does.

The church opposed the Equal Rights Amendment to the US constitution saying that equal rights for women would infringe on religious freedom (restricting the priesthood to men). This has not happened. Women who agreed with the ERA and campaigned publicly were excommunicated.

The church has a long history of changing its doctrines, usually when the secular world surpasses the church's compassion and empathy, but often when pressured by the government as with polygamy. Even the temple ceremony was changed after people were surveyed as to what made them uncomfortable. I'm sure you remember what it used to be like.

The church Joseph Smith founded is nothing like todays church, so yes, God does change.

Rick Carpenter said...

Your facts are lacking here. First, regarding Brigham Young and the JoD, I don't have an answer because I don't have time to research it. But regarding the church's position on blacks, you don't understand the point. It's not about being prejudiced toward blacks. It's about the lineage who held the priesthood. It was known all along in prophecy that all would eventually be able to have it, so there's no merit to a racism slant. Regarding the ERA, the church did not oppose equal social rights. They opposed the infestation of liberalism and moral decay into society, particularly the public decline in respect for the divinely designed differences between men and women. The church simply wanted to preserve those roles. And it wasn't about the priesthood. Totally wrong. It was about protecting the role of motherhood, the nurturing of young children in the home that the ERA's liberal agenda was out to destroy.
Talking about changes in the temple ceremony pointless. That was about convenience for patrons, not changing moral standards. Irrelevant.

Oz said...

Please don't simply discount my statements before doing research.

Prophets told the federal gvt they had stopped polygamy in order to avoid UT leadership being ousted, but they lied and continued the practice in secret for many more years. They now do not approve of polygamous cohabitation despite allowing it in temple marriages. Dallin Oaks has two wives sealed to him, but the church changed under outside pressure.

In 1970 the IRS ruled that Bob Jones U no longer qualified for tax-exempt status because of [its] segregationist policy, so the school changed it.

In early 1978, the Mormon Church found itself suffering from a massive news media campaign criticizing their attitudes towards blacks and nonwhites. Allegations of discrimination and racism by such groups as the NAACP and ACLU were directed against the LDS Church. The NAACP initiated lawsuits against church run scout troops for racism. There was talk of removing the church's tax free status.

In June 1978 the revelation giving Blacks the Priesthood arrived, prematurely it seems given Brigham Young's comment, "When all the other children of Adam have had the privilege of receiving the priesthood and of coming into the Kingdom of God and of being redeemed from the four quarters of the earth, and have received their resurrection from the dead, then it will be time enough to remove the curse from Cain and his posterity.” - Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 2, pp. 142-143 (available online)

Slavery was abolished early too since Young stated (New York Herald, May 4, 1855)“You must not think, from what I say, that I am opposed to slavery. No! The negro is damned, and is to serve his master till God chooses to remove the curse of Ham.” Slavery should have only ended in 1978 according to that prophet.

Journal of Discourses online http://www.journalofdiscourses.org/ Read Vol10 page 110 - White who marry blacks - death on the spot - it will always be so!

The rise of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s actually spurred some Mormon leaders to renew their support for discrimination. In a 1954 speech at Brigham Young University, Apostle Mark E. Peterson denounced interracial marriage on theological grounds, arguing that "if there is one drop of Negro blood in my children... they receive the curse [of Canaan]"; in 1958 Bruce R. McConkie wrote in Mormon Doctrine that African Americans had been "less valiant in the pre-existence," and thus "sent to earth through the lineage of Cain." Speaking from the pulpit at a semi-annual Church Conference in 1965, Apostle Ezra Taft Benson (a former Secretary of Agriculture under Eisenhower) charged that the Civil Rights Movement was a Communist plot to destroy America. Sound familiar? Liberal threats now huh? So under pressure from outside, the moral (immorality?) of the LDS church was changed to reflect social justice and empathy amongst "liberals"

Oz said...

Please don't simply discount my statements before doing research.

Prophets told the federal gvt they had stopped polygamy in order to avoid UT leadership being ousted, but they lied and continued the practice in secret for many more years. They now do not approve of polygamous cohabitation despite allowing it in temple marriages. Dallin Oaks has two wives sealed to him, but the church changed under outside pressure.

In 1970 the IRS ruled that Bob Jones U no longer qualified for tax-exempt status because of [its] segregationist policy, so the school changed it.

In early 1978, the Mormon Church found itself suffering from a massive news media campaign criticizing their attitudes towards blacks and nonwhites. Allegations of discrimination and racism by such groups as the NAACP and ACLU were directed against the LDS Church. The NAACP initiated lawsuits against church run scout troops for racism. There was talk of removing the church's tax free status.

In June 1978 the revelation giving Blacks the Priesthood arrived, prematurely it seems given Brigham Young's comment, "When all the other children of Adam have had the privilege of receiving the priesthood and of coming into the Kingdom of God and of being redeemed from the four quarters of the earth, and have received their resurrection from the dead, then it will be time enough to remove the curse from Cain and his posterity.” - Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 2, pp. 142-143 (available online)

Slavery was abolished early too since Young stated (New York Herald, May 4, 1855)“You must not think, from what I say, that I am opposed to slavery. No! The negro is damned, and is to serve his master till God chooses to remove the curse of Ham.” Slavery should have only ended in 1978 according to that prophet.

Journal of Discourses online http://www.journalofdiscourses.org/ Read Vol10 page 110 - White who marry blacks - death on the spot - it will always be so!

The rise of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s actually spurred some Mormon leaders to renew their support for discrimination. In a 1954 speech at Brigham Young University, Apostle Mark E. Peterson denounced interracial marriage on theological grounds, arguing that "if there is one drop of Negro blood in my children... they receive the curse [of Canaan]"; in 1958 Bruce R. McConkie wrote in Mormon Doctrine that African Americans had been "less valiant in the pre-existence," and thus "sent to earth through the lineage of Cain." Speaking from the pulpit at a semi-annual Church Conference in 1965, Apostle Ezra Taft Benson (a former Secretary of Agriculture under Eisenhower) charged that the Civil Rights Movement was a Communist plot to destroy America. Sound familiar? Liberal threats now huh? So under pressure from outside, the moral (immorality?) of the LDS church was changed to reflect social justice amongst "liberals"

Oz said...

In early 1978, the Mormon Church found itself suffering from a massive news media campaign criticizing their attitudes towards blacks and nonwhites. Allegations of discrimination and racism by such groups as the NAACP and ACLU were directed against the LDS Church. The NAACP initiated lawsuits against church run scout troops for racism. There was talk of removing the church's tax free status.

In June 1978 the revelation giving Blacks the Priesthood arrived, prematurely it seems given Brigham Young's comment, "When all the other children of Adam have had the privilege of receiving the priesthood and of coming into the Kingdom of God and of being redeemed from the four quarters of the earth, and have received their resurrection from the dead, then it will be time enough to remove the curse from Cain and his posterity.” - Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 2, pp. 142-143 (available online)

Slavery was abolished early too since Young stated (New York Herald, May 4, 1855)“You must not think, from what I say, that I am opposed to slavery. No! The negro is damned, and is to serve his master till God chooses to remove the curse of Ham.” Slavery should have only ended in 1978 according to that prophet.

Journal of Discourses online http://www.journalofdiscourses.org/ Read Vol10 page 110 - White who marry blacks - death on the spot - it will always be so!

The rise of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s actually spurred some Mormon leaders to renew their support for discrimination. In a 1954 speech at Brigham Young University, Apostle Mark E. Peterson denounced interracial marriage on theological grounds, arguing that "if there is one drop of Negro blood in my children... they receive the curse [of Canaan]"; in 1958 Bruce R. McConkie wrote in Mormon Doctrine that African Americans had been "less valiant in the pre-existence," and thus "sent to earth through the lineage of Cain." Speaking from the pulpit at a semi-annual Church Conference in 1965, Apostle Ezra Taft Benson (a former Secretary of Agriculture under Eisenhower) charged that the Civil Rights Movement was a Communist plot to destroy America. Sound familiar? Liberal threats now huh? So under pressure from outside, the moral (immorality?) of the LDS church was changed to reflect social justice amongst "liberals"

Oz said...

In early 1978, the Mormon Church found itself suffering from a massive news media campaign criticizing their attitudes towards blacks and nonwhites. Allegations of discrimination and racism by such groups as the NAACP and ACLU were directed against the LDS Church. The NAACP initiated lawsuits against church run scout troops for racism. There was talk of removing the church's tax free status.

In June 1978 the revelation giving Blacks the Priesthood arrived, prematurely it seems given Brigham Young's comment, "When all the other children of Adam have had the privilege of receiving the priesthood and of coming into the Kingdom of God and of being redeemed from the four quarters of the earth, and have received their resurrection from the dead, then it will be time enough to remove the curse from Cain and his posterity.” - Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 2, pp. 142-143 (available online)

Slavery was abolished early too since Young stated (New York Herald, May 4, 1855)“You must not think, from what I say, that I am opposed to slavery. No! The negro is damned, and is to serve his master till God chooses to remove the curse of Ham.” Slavery should have only ended in 1978 according to that prophet.

Journal of Discourses online journalofdiscourses.org/ Read Vol10 page 110 - White who marry blacks - death on the spot - it will always be so!

The rise of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s actually spurred some Mormon leaders to renew their support for discrimination. In a 1954 speech at Brigham Young University, Apostle Mark E. Peterson denounced interracial marriage on theological grounds, arguing that "if there is one drop of Negro blood in my children... they receive the curse [of Canaan]"; in 1958 Bruce R. McConkie wrote in Mormon Doctrine that African Americans had been "less valiant in the pre-existence," and thus "sent to earth through the lineage of Cain." Speaking from the pulpit at a semi-annual Church Conference in 1965, Apostle Ezra Taft Benson (a former Secretary of Agriculture under Eisenhower) charged that the Civil Rights Movement was a Communist plot to destroy America. Sound familiar? Liberal threats now huh? So under pressure from outside, the moral (immorality?) of the LDS church was changed to reflect social justice amongst "liberals"

Oz said...

The church did oppose the ERA, almost using the same tactics as with Prop8. Heard of Sonia Johnson? She chaired Mormons for ERA and was excommunicated. She said "Mormon anti-ERA activity, though organized and directed by the hierarchy of the Church from Salt Lake down through regional and local male leaders, is covert activity, not openly done in the name of the Church. Members are cautioned not to reveal that they are Mormons or organized by the Church when they lobby, write letters, donate money and pass out anti-ERA brochures door-to-door through whole states. Instead, they are directed to say that they are concerned citizens following the dictates of their individual consciences. Since they are, in fact, following the dictates of the Prophet’s conscience and would revise their own overnight if he were to revise his, nothing could be further from the truth."

From the Potomac Regional Womens' Coalition (later the LDS Citizens' Coalition) minutes November 8 1978 page 2, Regional Rep Julian Lowe:" Experience shows that if the Brethren are out beating the bushes it looks like, in the eyes of some, that we are trying to keep women subservient [note the word "keep"] and it is far from that. This is the exact opposite of what we’re trying to do but it is always interpreted that way. Why don’t I quit while I’m ahead?"

The church ran a campaign by actually busing LDS women into areas where pro ERA rallies were being held under instructions to oppose the ERA. Just as with Prop8, where Mormons hide behind front groups like NOM, these "Saints" were instructed to lie, and keep their association to the church a secret.

The fact you know very little about your own church's history, sordid as it is, really doesn't give you much to argue with.

Mormonism has always taught its followers that the world will come to an end if Blacks, women, and now gays get equal rights. It's about spreading fear in order to control others.

Please don't just refute what I say unless you actually read factual accounts or pre-correlation church documents. Anything the church had put out since correlation began are simply full of lies, from the method Smith told us he "translated" the Book of Mormon to the omission of any mention of polygamy, even with the most notorious polygamist - Young.